System information


Baker-McCallum System Summary Form, ACBL Convention Card, WBF CC 2019
Levitina-Sanborn System Summary Form, ACBL Convention Card, WBF CC 2019
Palmer-Shi System Summary Form, ACBL Convention Card, WBF CC 2017


About the players

Lynn Baker

Lynn is a law professor at the University of Texas, and frequently serves as a consultant to other attorneys on issues of legal ethics in mass tort settlements. A graduate of Yale Law School and Yale College, she also holds a degree from Oxford University, which she attended as a Marshall Scholar.

A 16-time National Champion, Lynn’s work commitments largely limit her tournament play to NABC and European Open events. In 2014, Lynn won her first World Championship, the McConnell Cup in Sanya, China. She won the McConnell Cup again in 2018 in Orlando, Florida. She has twice represented the US in the Venice Cup, winning a silver medal with USA I in 2009 (Sao Paulo, Brazil), and finishing 5th in 2001 (Paris, France). In 2015, she was on the winning Women's Team in the European Open Championships (Tromso, Norway), and finished second in the same event in 2017 in Montecatini, Italy.

A lifelong athlete, Lynn rowed for the Yale Varsity Women’s Crew and was selected to one U.S. Olympic and three National Women’s Rowing Team training camps during college. An avid downhill skier and runner in recent years, she has completed four marathons. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, Sam Dinkin, and two cats, Reginald and Babycat.

Karen McCallum

A seven-time world champion, her most recent win is the McConnell Cup in Orlando, FL, Karen is perhaps best known for her aggressive and complex "light initial action" bidding system. Although the five-card (non-vul) "McCallum weak 2-bids" (with no restrictions on suit quality or side holdings) are no longer an oddity among experts, Karen saw their promise in the 1970s.

Respected around the world as a bidding theorist as well as a player, Karen has served as a coach of several Turkish national bridge teams (open, women, and junior), and of the Australian open national bridge team. She was the NPC for the Turkish juniors in the 2000 Junior World Championships in Antalya. Karen has been an invited participant in bidding panels in numerous bridge publications in England, Australia, Turkey, New Zealand, France and the US. She has also edited several bridge books, including the best-selling bridge book of all time, Larry Cohen's "To Bid or Not to Bid."

In addition to her great success in women's bridge, Karen has had some memorable experiences in open bridge. She was invited (with her partner, Kerri Sanborn) to play in the 1990 Rosenblum Teams with Peter Pender, Ralph Cohen, Bob Jones, and Mike Smolen, and the team faced a formidable opponent in the round of 16: Bob Hamman, Bobby Wolff, Chip Martel, Lew Stansby, Jimmy Cayne, and Chuck Burger. At the half, Pender's team was down 15 IMPs, and one team member suggested that perhaps "the four guys" should play the rest of the way. But Pender sent in McCallum and Sanborn for the second half and won the match. Pender's team eventually lost in the round of 8 to the German open team that won the event.

A woman of many talents and interests, Karen's primary work outside bridge is creating hand-crafted glass and beaded jewelry. You can see examples of Karen's stunning work at She is an insatiable reader of all genres, with a home library of more than 50,000 volumes. She also enjoys gourmet cooking and playing the piano. She lives in a 215-year-old farmhouse in Exeter, New Hampshire.

Irina Levitina

Irina is the only person in the world to win world championships in both chess and bridge. She has won six bridge World Championships, including all of the Women's events (Venice Cup, McConnell, Olympiad and Women's Pairs) as well as the Transnational Mixed Teams.

Especially well respected for her declarer play, Irina was one of 34 world-class players (including only 4 women) invited to participate in the World Par Contest, a declarer play competition, held in connection with the 1998 World Championships in Lille, France. In finishing 14th overall (and first among the women), Irina placed ahead of such stars as Benito Garozzo, Chip Martel, Steve Weinstein, and Zia.

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Irina was first taught chess as a young child by her father. By the age of 18 she was a member of the Soviet team and was the top woman at the chess Olympiad. At age 18, Irina also took up bridge, introduced to the game by Simeon Furman, her chess teacher (and Karpov’s) at the time. Immigrating to the US in December 1990, Irina co-founded the International Chess Academy in Teaneck, NJ, in 1997 (you can read more about the chess school and Irina's chess career at

Kerri Sanborn

Inducted into the ACBL’s Hall of Fame in 2007, Kerri is a nine-time world champion. She has won at least one World Championship in each of four consecutive decades, a record of “longevity at the top” equaled only by Bob Hamman. (Indeed, one wonders if anyone in any competitive endeavor outside of bridge has, or could, come close to that record of sustained excellence.)

Although (because?) her parents played bridge, Kerri swore she never would. But, she finally succumbed during her sophomore year at Miami University in Ohio, and played her first local duplicate with her father. She soon moved to California, where she credits many experts for helping her during her early years as a player: Mike Shuman, Harold Guiver, Mike Smolen, Hermine Baron, Harold Kandler, Rhoda Walsh, and, most significantly, Barry Crane.

Kerri’s first victory at the world level was the 1978 Mixed Pairs in which she and Barry Crane bested a world-class field by an astonishing margin of 5 boards. During her highly successful 14-year partnership with Barry, she was responsible for buying his coffee (2/3 of a cup, black) and filling out the convention card, while he handled the travel arrangements. Kerri’s five subsequent world championships were won in partnership with Karen McCallum (1989, 1990, 1993) and Irina Levitina (2002, 2006). Her most recent world championships were a repeat Mixed Pairs win, this time with Jie "Jack" Zhao in 2014, the World National Women's Teams in 2016 and the McConnell in 2018.

A full-time player beginning in the early 1970s, Kerri changed careers in 1988 when she began trading options full-time on the floor of the American Stock Exchange. She retired in 2001. An avid golfer, Kerri lives in Delray Beach, FL, with her husband, Steve, and cat Brooke.

Beth Palmer
 Beth Palmer

 Beth has been an Administrative Judge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for 24 years, hearing complaints of employment discrimination.  Prior to becoming a judge, she was a lawyer in private practice.  Admired in the bridge world for her judicial temperament, Beth has generously given of her time throughout the years to serve in numerous administrative positions with the USBF, ACBL, and the Washington Bridge League.

Beth began playing bridge in law school in 1977 and her first serious partner was Bill Cole.  Two years later, she played with Bill at the Norfolk, Virginia, nationals and her team made it to the round of 16 in the Vanderbilt.  Lynn Deas reports that “Beth was the talk of the tournament, won more than 100 masterpoints, and made Life Master.”

Beth formed her partnership with Sylvia Shi in 2016 and they won the first World Championship in which they played as a pair:  the World Bridge Games in Wroclaw.  Beth's first partnership was with Lynn Deas, beginning in 1981.  Playing a strong club system, the pair played in their first World Championships in 1982, when they were both just 30 years old, and finished 2nd in the World Women’s Pairs.  They played on three victorious World Championship teams as a pair (1987, 1989, 2002), and finishedfirst (2010), second (1982), third (1994), and fourth (1990) in the World Women’s Pairs.  Beth also won a gold medal as NPC of the Baker Team in the McConnell Cup in Orlando in 2018.

Away from the bridge table, Beth enjoys reading and sports, but her primary interest is her daughter, Julie Pettis.  Beth served as Julie’s Girl Scout troop leader for six years and has been coach of her basketball team for five.  Beth lives with her husband, Bill Pettis (“Buffalo”) in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Sylvia Shi

 Sylvia took up the game at the beginning of 2011. She had graduated from Johns Hopkins University and was living in Baltimore and attending graduate school. She was also finding a market for her artwork; she creates Japanese animation. “I was trying to decide between learning to fly a plane or bridge,” she says. “I wanted to feel like I was accomplishing something in addition to filling up my time. In the end, I chose bridge because it has a lower initial monetary cost.”

Shi grew her game in the Baltimore/Washington DC area, a fertile area for learning players. She played at the Laurel Bridge Club in Laurel MD, which she describes as having some of the strongest club games in the country. Shi now has multiple NABC+ wins under her belt, beginning with the Lebhar IMP pairs in 2015. She also became a world champion at the World Bridge Games in Wroclaw in 2016.

Sam Dinkin, NPC